eBook - 2015
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"Twelve year old Caitlin lives alone with her mother-- a docker at the local container port-in subsidized housing next to an airport in Seattle. Each day, while she waits to be picked up after school, Caitlin visits the local aquarium to study the fish. Gazing at the creatures within the watery depths, Caitlin accesses a shimmering universe beyond her own. When she befriends an old man at the tanks one day, who seems as enamored of the fish as she, Caitlin cracks open a dark family secret and propels her once-blissful relationship with her mother toward a precipice of terrifying consequence. In crystalline, chiseled yet graceful prose, Aquarium takes us into the heart of a brave young girl whose longing for love and capacity for forgiveness transforms the damaged people around her"--Jacket flap.
Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, an imprint of Grove/Atlantic, Inc., [2015]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781336020672
Characteristics: 1 online resource (266 pages) : color illustrations.


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Dec 01, 2017

This story is not for the faint-of-heart. I enjoyed this read and found the narrator to be a likable, strong character. A brutal story, with violent and loving themes not found in much of the reading I have done. This is an usual coming-of-age story, but one I found myself fully immersed.

Jun 01, 2016

I had an interesting discussion with my dad about this book. When I told him that ----------------SPOILER ALERT----the old man in the aquarium turns out to be Caitlin's grandfather, he was incredulous because he thought that was just so contrived. I told him that of course it was, otherwise there would be no story here, but his comment makes me think a lot about the appeal of fiction to reluctant readers. Do people find it frustrating that everything happens "just-so" in fiction? Also, my dad didn't seem to believe that David Vann's Seattle as described in the book was all that accurate, but it was accurate enough for me. I love the Seattle Aquarium (and indeed most aquariums), so that's enough to keep me happy. Though this has nothing to do with the book, one of my friends, interestingly, is afraid of I won't be sharing this book with her!

Aug 13, 2015

I found this to be a very unusual & intriguing read. 12 year old Caitlin reminded me of the young man in "The Highest Tide", both fascinated with sea life, Caitlin focused on the many type of fish species. An enhancement to the read were the beautiful colored drawings of the exotic fish at each point when she visited the Seattle Aquarium. Caitlin longed for the love a complete family, but her mother's emotional illness kept her from receiving it. Her mother's bitterness & rage was surprisingly played out through her evil requirement for Caitlin to live her mother's life at age 14 when she was forced in to caring for her dying mother. That was something I wasn't prepared to read.
The story kept me interested throughout, except for the ending, but all in all, it was a fast read.

Vero_biblio Jul 22, 2015

Caitlin, the narrator, is a likeable twelve-year old girl living just above the poverty line with her single mother. Every day after school she visits the Aquarium, where she meets a gentle old man she befriended. This new encounter will open the door to sudden violence into her innocent life, at the same time as she is living the first joys of love and sexuality.
In this novel, the author uses Caitlin's fascination with fishes to fill his book with sea creatures metaphors, which are interesting. The industrial setting mirrors the despair of Caitlin's mother for a better life. The rage and insanity appearing in the story would make the reader feel oppressed, but fortunately there are oasis of new love and desire throughout.

Apr 28, 2015

Enjoyed this story, although (being the old-fashioned person I am) it took me a while to adjust to the lack of quote marks around conversations in the story ... :)

Mar 10, 2015

In luminous, spare prose this novel tells the story of a twelve-year-old girl who finds her only solace at an aquarium in Seattle, where she spends time while waiting for her mother, a dockyard worker, to finish her shift. At the aquarium she meets a man who shares her love and respect for the fragile, beautiful forms of marine life. But in this friendship lies something darker that, once uncovered, threatens to destroy the fragile hold Caitlin and her mother have on life and sanity. There are scenes in this novel of family violence and despair that are almost unbearable to read. A beautiful, eloquent and profoundly disturbing novel.


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Jun 02, 2016

"Make any friends? This was my mother's joke almost every day, about my making friends with the fish. I wasn't going to tell her that today I actually had made a friend."


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